- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Special education teachers go to work every day expecting to be hit, punched and kicked.

“It’s part of our job description,” said Kami Finger, executive director of special education for the Lubbock Independent School District.

But Finger, a former teacher, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (http://bit.ly/1gX3QhZ) that she believes it’s a gift - a calling that stays with special education teachers even on days when some feel like pulling their hair out, or they had a student try.

LISD recently allowed A-J Media to tour the district’s special education classrooms and facilities - a tour that revealed the bond between a special needs student and his or her teacher.

It’s a relationship parents David and Jennifer Taylor rely on when they send their daughter Ashley, 14, to seventh grade at Irons Middle School every day.

David Taylor remembers parking in front of his daughter’s elementary school a few years ago and walking around the building toward the playground. He saw boys playing basketball, girls playing tag and another group of kids climbing the jungle gym.

But what he saw next broke his heart, Taylor said during a recent interview at the family’s home. Ashley was playing on the sidelines. By herself.

When the Taylors adopted Ashley, she was 2. Over the next year and a half they adopted her younger brother and sister, now 10-year-olds Grant and Brooke.

Ashley was small, malnourished and had been neglected, Jennifer Taylor said, so they knew she’d have developmental delays. They suspected fetal alcohol syndrome, but Child Protective Services told the Taylors Ashley’s birth mother had not consumed alcohol during her pregnancy.

When Ashley was 5, however, she was diagnosed with FAS at about the same time Grant was diagnosed with autism.

Because of FAS, Ashley has bipolar disorder, brain damage and neuromuscular damage. She also struggles with anxiety issues, her mom said. In 2010, Jennifer Taylor wrote a book about her experiences with FAS and called it “Forfeiting All Sanity,” using the same first letters of the syndrome in her title.

“She’s one-on-one care 24-7, pretty much,” Jennifer Taylor said of her daughter.

But Ashley wasn’t getting that at her elementary school, and the Taylors eventually pulled her and her siblings out of the school district they were in.

Jennifer Taylor tried homeschooling all three children, but Ashley said she grew bored easily and that it wasn’t what she had expected.

That’s when the Taylors considered putting Ashley in LISD.

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